Words that cut like a knife
The pen is mightier than the sword. Great copywriting is at the sharp end. Here’s how to slice up the competition . . .
- Know your audience. Who exactly are you communicating with? Imagine you are having a conversation with them.
- Your audience are not interested in you. Sell benefits, not features. People are only interested in what you can do for them. For example at Fill the Gap Marketing we specialise in writing marketing action plans. That’s a feature. What does that mean for our customers? It means that we help them to grow their business – that’s the benefit. Always ask yourself, ‘so what does that mean for my customer?’ You should be using the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ a lot more often that you use the words ‘we’ or ‘I’.
- The power of the headline. The main purpose of the headline is to get people to read your advert, brochure or sales letter. So make it compelling or offer a clear benefit. Don’t talk about yourself. You don’t have to write the headline first, you can always add it later.
- The magical formula: AIDA. Well, almost magical! If your communications follow the four steps below, you will be on the road to a successful campaign:-
- Attention – Use the headline to grab attention. It should demand to be read.
- Interest – You can use sub-headings containing interesting, inspiring and relevant words to encourage your audience to read further.
- Desire – Explain, using powerful and positive words, how you can deliver on the promises you made in your headings.
- Action – What do you want the reader to do next? Clearly state a ‘call to action’. How do you want them to respond? For example ‘Book Now’, ‘Phone today’, ‘Come and try our new menu’ or ‘Download our free report’. Don’t leave any room for doubt – tell your readers what you want them to do.
- Set objectives. Before you commence any marketing communications campaign, set measurable objectives. Know what you want it to achieve. It might be increased sales or it might be more traffic to your website, greater awareness of your brand or names on your database. These are all valuable outcomes. Decide in advance, put a number on it and measure the results.
- Less is very often more. Edit your work. Remove waffle. Take out anything that is unnecessary. Don’t use complicated words when more simple ones will suffice do. Keep it simple. Keep it clear. Make it more effective.
- Don’t be boring. It’s a good idea to make some sentences quite long. Keep others short. This adds variety and makes the copy more interesting for your audience. You want them to keep reading.
- Let it lie. (No, don’t tell fibs). What we mean is try and leave your copy overnight before you use it. You will be amazed at what improvements you can make when you look at your work afresh the next day.
- Where is this all going? What is this copy for? For example, if it’s an advert – make sure you are putting the ad in a publication that your target market actually reads. If it’s a sales letter, make sure you are sending it to the right people. Do your research. The best copy in the world won’t get you a response if your potential customers don’t see it.
- Digital Copy. Words for websites have their own agenda. These general rules of copy still apply.
“That’s all great, but I just haven’t got time”
If this sounds like you, Fill the Gap Marketing Ltd can help. We provide professional copywriting services from £50 – leaving you free to concentrate on your core business. Contact us for a complimentary consultation – we can help you to grow your business profitably.